Turning 40 has been all about my boobs. Partly because (in the words of my adoring husband) I'm getting "sluttier" as I get older, and "finally" bringing them out more. The other part is that when you turn 40 you're supposed to "finally" schedule your a baseline mammogram -- unless you've been unlucky enough to have to go sooner.
My number came up in May. Actually, the Nice Nurse Practitioner in my Mean GP's office handed me the paperwork for my baseline mammogram last fall.
Yeah, a year ago.
I let the paperwork sit there for 12 months because I didn't have time to walk literally across the street to the boob center for the 15 minute long appointment. And yes, in that same period of time I also managed to squeeze in at least 12 hair appointments, several movies and a vacation or two.
Eventually I had to get around to it, so last week I rolled out of bed and got it done. If you're screwing around and putting it off, for Chrissake, just go. It wasn't that big of a deal. In some ways it's kind of positive. And at least no one puts anything metal inside of you and says, "Just relax, you're going to feel some pressure."
Oh, wait, they do say that, but I promise, there are no metal probes, of any kind, in any orifices.
Sure, the boob squeezing is uncomfortable/hurts. It's strange to have a woman adjusting "you" on a glass plate thing. And who loves having a flash of radiation going through any part of your body? But all of the women who work at the boob center are so nice, and so reassuring. You feel like you're in good hands, at times literally because ... well, see above.
Mainly I was floored that squashing your boob between two glass plates is the best innovation that modern medicine has been able to develop to detect breast cancer. I mean, I'm a lay person and not very good math, but even I can see the potential of ultrasound.
I even said out loud, "Really? That's the best they could come up with?" The wonderful technician gave me the most reassuring pat on the back I've ever received in my life, which I appreciated even though I wasn't upset, just dumbfounded.
My mother-in-law is a nurse, and she shared this thought from one of her coworkers: If men had an annual appointment to get their balls squashed between two plates of glass, they'd find a better way to do the screening pretty damn quick.
To that end, boob center where I went asks women to give a small blood sample when you get your mammogram, and to give them permission to have a copy of your mammogram for a study. They hope to develop a blood test that will one day (Goddess willing) replace the mammogram.
Even with my small veins -- I've been told not to even try to give blood anymore, "We can't all help the same way, dear," -- I agreed to be in the study. Anything to help find a better way to take care of The Girls for all the girls out there!
And so another milestone gets checked off the list! I still prefer the ones that come with vodka, but all things considered, it was pretty good.